Masks to be distributed to truck drivers at designated locations
April 22, 2020
•Land Line Staff
About 800,000 masks will be distributed at rest areas to truck drivers for free, OOIDA’s director of safety and security confirmed on Wednesday, April 22.
The effort, which will be coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Transportation, follows OOIDA’s recent efforts with the Trump administration to secure personal protective equipment for drivers and establish a distribution network.
The masks are planned to be distributed on high-truck-volume lanes at various locations.
“This has been a long time coming, but it’s finally going to happen,” said Doug Morris, OOIDA’s director of safety and security. “The distribution of this (personal protective equipment) is a direct response to OOIDA’s letter to the president asking for PPE for truck drivers. They are continuing to work on other pressing needs, such as hand sanitizer and additional testing.”
Mask distribution locations include:
- Georgia. Southbound on I-75, mile marker 179 just north of Macon.
- Illinois. Eastbound on I-80/I-294 at mile marker 1 in Chicago.
- Nebraska. Westbound on I-80 at mile marker 431 near Omaha.
- Texas. Northbound on I-35 at mile marker 362A about 5 miles south of Hillsboro.
- California. Northbound on I-5 in Los Angeles.
- New York. Northbound on I-87 at mile marker 33, just north of New York City.
Dates for distribution have not been released. More locations are expected to be added as need areas in need are determined.
On April 3, OOIDA sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for “urgent and immediate action” to protect truck drivers as they haul essential freight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every day they are exposed to COVID-19, because of the critical service they provide for all of us,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer wrote. “They run in and out of the hot zones and, without question, they are exposed. They don’t have access to personal protective equipment or any practical means to know when they may be falling ill or any practical solution if they need treatment or self-isolation.”
OOIDA said it is in the best interest of the nation’s economy to help protect truck drivers from contracting the virus as the supply chain can’t function without truckers.
In a segment on CNBC’s “The Exchange” on April 20, Spencer said that keeping truck drivers safe during the pandemic is critical to America’s economy.
“Realistically, truckers are first responders,” Spencer told CNBC’s Kelly Evans. “Our whole economy runs on trucks. All of the vital things we need in the stores, they only get there by truck.
“(Truckers) go everywhere. They go into the hot zones. We think there ought to be greater efforts to provide PPE, because we really want to keep them on the job, and we don’t want to get them infected.”